Statement by the Press Secretary on Review of General and Flag Officer Ethics
(Source: US Department of Defense; issued Nov. 15, 2012)
The Secretary believes that the vast majority of our senior military officers exemplify the strength of character and the highest ethical standards the American people expect of those whose job it is to provide for the security of our nation. They represent not only the best of the American military but the American people. The majority of these officers lead by example, which is one of the reasons the United States military stands without peer.

Over the past several months, the Secretary has spoken with the service secretaries, service chiefs, and combatant commanders about those instances when senior officers have not lived up to the standards expected of them. This has been an ongoing discussion reflecting shared concerns.

This week, the Secretary directed General Dempsey to work with the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to review how to better foster a culture of stewardship among our most senior military officers. Their initial findings are due to the Secretary within the next few weeks.

This process is intended to reinforce and strengthen the standards that keep us a well led and disciplined military. Input to the Secretary will form the basis of a report to the President on the Department’s progress in this area by December 1, 2012. (ends)

Panetta Orders Pentagon Investigation of Legal, Ethical Issues Among Military Leaders (excerpt)
(Source: Washington Post; published Nov. 15, 2012)
BANGKOK --- Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has ordered the Pentagon to find out why so many generals and admirals have become embroiled in legal and ethical problems, a trend exacerbated by recent investigations of two of the military’s best-known commanders.

The Pentagon disclosed Panetta’s directive on Thursday after he arrived in Thailand as part of a visit to Asia. But aides insisted that he had been considering the review for some time and that it was not prompted by revelations that the FBI has been investigating former CIA director David H. Petraeus, a retired Army general, and Marine Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

“I will emphasize very strongly that the secretary was going to embark on this course long before the matters that have come to light over the past week,” Pentagon press secretary George Little told reporters traveling with Panetta here.

The military has been scandalized by several other recent criminal and administrative probes into top officers, an exceedingly high number for a profession that prides itself on honor and probity.

The deputy commander of the storied 82nd Airborne Division was relieved in May in Afghanistan and is now facing criminal charges that he sexually assaulted or engaged in adultery with five women. Last month, the commander of an aircraft carrier strike group in the Persian Gulf was relieved for “inappropriate leadership judgment” and is under investigation by the Navy’s inspector general.

On Tuesday, Panetta demoted the former four-star commander of the military’s Africa Command and ordered him to repay $82,000 for taking lavish or unauthorized trips with his wife.

Another inspector general probe this fall castigated the three-star commander of the Missile Defense Agency for creating a toxic work environment, describing his style as “management by blowtorch and pliers.”

Panetta has said little in public about each of the cases and hasn’t fired any commanders since taking charge at the Pentagon in July 2011. In contrast, his predecessor, Robert M. Gates, was quick to sack generals and admirals for what he deemed poor performance or a lack of accountability. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Washington Post website.


prev next

Official reports See all